Here are five specific things I've noticed that changed when the little one joined the family:
1. Things are not about you anymore.
|Well, if I found it on the internet, that means it MUST be true.|
It may be tough to accept, but you are no longer the center of your own universe and every decision--and I mean every decision, from choosing where to live to deciding when to go to the bathroom--has to be made with someone else in mind. Your bladder may hate you for a few weeks, but like everything else, you get accustomed to this new lifestyle. It may sound depressing at face value that you will always take the back burner from now on, but that is parenthood, which is a required selflessness that changes one's life, values, and desires for the better.
2. You learn that you can actually function on three to four hours of sleep for months.
|Pictured: everyone in this household|
Before my son was born, I needed at least eight hours each night in order to properly function the next day. In fact, if I got under six hours, I felt sick all day; sleep depravation hit me way too hard. I had no idea how I was going to handle so many sleepless night, but thankfully, my body adjusted--to an extent. Sleep is a commodity and every five minutes of rest feels like a beautiful eternity. I was never one for naps, but I have a newfound love for the afternoon catnap, especially when that nap is accompanied by a sleeping baby. There is nothing better than family nap time.
3. A tiny human calls the shots and despite what you think, he/she is the new boss in town.
You may think that your many years on earth would have prepared you for this, but in all likelihood, nothing can prepare you for parenthood other than actually living through it. This is not to say that your beautiful child will always decide how each day goes down from here until eternity, but as long as there is no way to communicate with that tiny little ball of joy and explain to them that pushing the bottle away while hungry is the exact opposite is what is wanted, or that a clean diaper is better than a dirty diaper and changing them is not simply a form of baby torture, you have to get used to going with the flow.
4. Getting somewhere on time is a miracle.
|Always late for something.|
Now, I was never truly punctual before having a child, but adding a baby to the mix only further complicates things. What once took 15 minutes now takes over an hour. Want a shower before going somewhere? Better add another hour on to ensure that you hopefully find five minutes to jump in the lukewarm water and jump back out. Not only are you responsible for making yourself presentable, you also have to ensure that your child doesn't look homeless or unkempt. Say goodbye to the days where everything you needed could likely fit into your pockets. The diaper bag is your new best friend and if you only have three diapers and two changes of clothes for that single-stop trip to the grocery store, you are going to have a bad time. In all the hustle and bustle of getting the baby ready for an external adventure, you will likely forget to brush your teeth or check your "clean" shirt for spit-up because I guarantee those spots show up regardless of if you held the baby or not. I think every article of clothing that a parent owns miraculously gets covered in some type of baby-slime the minute that infant comes through the door. It truly is a miracle of parenthood.
5. You understand and appreciate the little things.
Despite the chaos and rapid upheaval of everything you thought you knew, your life has a new found meaning and you never knew that a tiny person whom you just met could make you so incredibly happy. I have never fallen in love with someone so quickly than I did when I first made eye contact with my son. Things may be hectic and stressful at times and I may not be able to tell you when I last showered, but I now understand what it means to be in the presence of true unadulterated joy; and that is an extremely beautiful thing.